UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2015 - Ohio River

Forget pounds, Scheide wins by a ton

Pro Ray Scheide earned $100,000 for winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Okeechobee.

CLEWISTON, Fla. - Due to its sugar industry, the hamlet on the south shore of Lake Okeechobee known as Clewiston, Fla., calls itself the "Sweetest Town in America." It's a fitting venue for an easygoing, down-to-earth Wal-Mart FLW Tour rookie like Ray Scheide to win $100,000 in his first tour-level fishing event. But beneath his veneer of sweetness, Scheide possesses the competitive fire of a champion. In Saturday's final day of the FLW season opener at Okeechobee, the 33-year-old pro from Russellville, Ark., muscled his way into a five-bass limit weighing an impressive 21 pounds, 9 ounces. That pushed his two-day, final-round total to a massive 36-1, overwhelming his closest competitor, Chris McCall, by exactly 13 pounds. "This is unbelievable," he said. "I can't wait to call my wife." How Scheide, who led Friday with a 14 1/2-pound stringer, managed to hook into more than 20 pounds of bass Saturday when no one else could muster more than 12 1/2 pounds is no secret. He just found the big ones, simply enough. "I found an area the last day of practice where I caught an 11-pounder," Scheide said. "It looked awesome. It had every type of grass that you need." The area he fished all week was a quarter-mile stretch of hyacinth mats along Pelican Bay, east of South Bay. The location played right into his strength, which is flipping. The cold front that blew down from the north the last two days pushed many big female bass in the area off the spawning beds, leaving them scrambling for cover and warmth beneath the thick mats. From there, it was easy pickings for Scheide. "They were trying to spawn," he explained, "but when a cold front comes in, they're going to go to the nearest thick cover. The colder it got, the bigger the females were that came up in there. They were pre-spawn fish, full of eggs, fat." Scheide used the same technique Saturday that gave him the lead Friday. He flipped a Gambler cricket with a 1 1/2-ounce tungsten weight to penetrate the wind-thickened hyacinth mats, let the bait drop, then pulled it back up to just beneath the hyacinths and twitched until he got a bite. His first bass was a 6-pounder, and his biggest weighed over 7 pounds. He caught all of his 21 pounds by 10:30 a.m. Pro Ray Scheide of Russellville, Ark., used a two-day catch of 36 pounds, 1 ounce to claim his first FLW tile in his very first FLW Tour event."They just couldn't stand it when I did that," he said. "They just attacked it." Fishing in such heavy cover, Scheide used 65-pound braided line and only lost two fish all week. After he hooked them, he had to troll through some muck to go get them, but he rarely broke any off. "That's what's fun about this. You've got to put it into four-wheel drive to go get her," said Scheide, who obviously had some fun Saturday. "They aren't getting away if I can get them up in that mat. I never let up; I just kept at it." The cool-headed Scheide, a Wal-Mart BFL Okie Division standout whose previous best pro finish was second place in a 2002 EverStart Series Central Division event, didn't seem at all surprised by his hot start out of the FLW Tour chute. For him, it was all about preparation. "I had a good practice and a perfect week," he said. "This has been a dream of mine forever. I hope I can make a habit of this." Pro Chris McCall of Jasper, Texas, acknowledges the crowd before final weigh-in.McCall takes second The sentimental favorite at Okeechobee, McCall caught a limit weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday, pushing his final-round total to 23-1 and second place. He collected $35,000 in prizes, but for the pro from Jasper, Texas, it was hard to put a value on his experience this week. His mother passed away while he was competing Wednesday, but McCall persevered. "We want to thank everybody for all their thoughts and prayers," he said, accompanied by his wife. "It's the best week of fishing I've ever had. It's a great start, especially after missing the championship last year by three places. You couldn't ask for a better start as far as the fishing goes." McCall, a second-year FLW pro, caught two of his bass Saturday on a spinnerbait, and the other three he caught by sight-fishing with Gambler baits. "Those three right at the end helped," he said. "This really changes everything. I don't really have to worry about making it from one tournament to the next anymore." Dudley cashes in again Fishing Machine, Manteo Machine, Cash Machine - whatever you call him, David Dudley just keeps the hammer down. The richest pro bass angler in history collected yet another check Saturday, this time for $20,000, after weighing in a limit and finishing third at Okeechobee with a final-round weight of 22 pounds, 11 ounces. The competitive Dudley, however, wasn't exactly satisfied with his own performance - which probably belies his penchant for winning. "I could have finished second, but I couldn't have caught (Scheide's) weight," said Dudley, who admitted that he might have made a mistake on the locations he fished in the finals. "I was just sight-fishing and I caught what I could catch, but I didn't even see enough good fish to catch him." Pro Shinichi Fukae of Osaka, Japan, won a fourth-place finish and $16,000 with a total catch of 20 pounds, 7 ounces.Fukae fourth, Lefebre fifth Also sight-fishing for the bulk of the week was Shinichi Fukae, a Japanese angler of the year from Osaka. He finished in fourth place and collected $16,000 with a total weight of 20 pounds 7 ounces in the finals. This was also his first FLW tournament. Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., finished in fifth place, worth $14,000, with a final-round total of 19 pounds, 7 ounces. He said he had trouble finding fish until later in the day throughout the tournament, but Saturday started fast for him. "I got a big one right off the bat today, and I haven't been able to get a morning bite all week," said Lefebre, whose limit weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces today. "But this is exciting. (Okeechobee) was a great start for me last year, too." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at FLW Lake Okeechobee are Billy Bowen Jr. of Ocala, Fla., with a final-round total weight of 13 pounds, 9 ounces (sixth place, $11,000); Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas, with a weight of 13-7 (seventh, $10,000); James Parker of Fayetteville, N.C., with a weight of 9-6 (eighth, $9,000); day-one leader Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., with a weight of 8-2 (ninth, $8,000); and Rick Lillegard of Atkinson, N.H., with a weight of 4-1 (10th, $7,000). The top seven pros all caught limits Saturday, and six of the 10 finalists caught limits both days of the final round. Overall, Lake Okeechobee version 2004 was an FLW Tour record-breaker. The expanded field of 200 pros and 200 co-anglers weighed in a total of 3,209 bass weighing 6,429 pounds, 11 ounces, smashing the previous Okeechobee record of 2,568 bass weighing 4,862-7 set in 2002 by a field of 175 pros and 175 co-anglers. The second FLW Tour stop of the season is scheduled for the Atchafalaya Basin near Morgan City, La., Feb. 11-14.

Tags: headline-story  jeff-schroeder 

/news/2015-08-03-balog-back-on-top

Balog Back on Top

Joe Balog of Harrison Township, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Balog earned $6,418. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-03-edwards-finally-brings-it-home

Edwards Finally Brings it Home

Gary Edwards of Milton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 11 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Hoosier Division tournament on the Ohio River. For his victory, Edwards earned $6,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-browne-sticks-to-the-bank-to-win

Browne Sticks To The Bank To Win

A lot would have had to happen for Glenn Browne to relinquish his hard-earned lead on the final day of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain. It turned out that a lot did happen, but with help from his friends and a great pattern, Glenn Browne socked 18 pounds, 7 ounces on the final day for a 63-pound, 8-ounce total and a payday of $34,097 plus a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-hp outboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-08-01-champlain-midday-update-day-3

Champlain Midday Update Day 3

Day three of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain started with a beautiful sunrise and light rain that had tapered off by the beginning of takeoff. For leader Glenn Browne, the beauty was soon marred by a breakdown that occurred shortly into his run south. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 2

Day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Plano on Lake Champlain definitely shook up the leaderboard. While Glenn Browne took a huge lead, the rest of the pack swapped around and remained pretty tight. Browne is catching his fish down south near Ticonderoga, but the north end has also produced very well for the rest of the field. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-browne-crushes-again-leads-by-6-

Browne Crushes Again, Leads By 6+

Averaging 20 pounds or more is a difficult thing to do in a multi-day tournament on Lake Champlain, but Glenn Browne might be on his way to doing it in the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano. After two days, the Ocala, Fla., pro has run to Ticonderoga twice and sacked up nearly identical bags for a total of 45 pounds, 8 ounces. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-31-champlain-midday-update-day-2

Champlain Midday Update Day 2

While day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was wracked by high winds and rain in the morning, day two has been almost as good as Champlain can be. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-cioppa-leads-on-champlain

Cioppa Leads On Champlain

David Cioppa of Hopkinton, Mass., weighed 22 pounds, 13 ounces late in the weigh-in to grab the lead after the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Champlain. Cioppa weighed all largemouths and says that he caught the entirety of his weight by about 9 a.m. from one location in the northern end of the lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-top-5-patterns-from-champlain-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Champlain Day 1

Lake Champlain was rough and wild on day one of the Rayovac FLW Series event presented by Plano, and a bunch of the anglers still got it done in a big way. David Cioppa caught largemouths in the Inland Sea, but the rest of the top guys spread out all over the massive lake. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-30-champlain-midday-update-day-1

Champlain Midday Update Day 1

Takeoff was placid enough, with a beautiful sunrise and a light breeze in the slightly protected corner that is Plattsburgh. By about 6:30 a.m., day one of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Plano on Lake Champlain was already beginning to get rough. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-21-top-picks-from-icast

Top Picks From ICAST

A few days of walking the floor at ICAST is enough to exhaust a body, but it isn’t enough to know exactly what’s worthwhile. For that, you need some time to reflect and probably a few tournament seasons to fly by to see what rises up. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-renfrew-fished-to-win

Renfrew Fished to Win

Ian Renfrew of Phoenix, New York, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament on Oneida Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Renfrew earned $4,695. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-docks-and-rocks-key-for-synders

Docks and Rocks Key for Synders

Rus Snyders of Nashville, Tennessee, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Music City Division tournament on Old Hickory Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Snyders earned $2,703. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-jig-crankbait-carry-powroznik

Jig, Crankbait Carry Powroznik

Ryan Powroznik of Prince George, Virginia, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Piedmont Division tournament on the James River. For his victory, Powroznik earned $7,507. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-20-persistence-pays-for-arning

Persistence Pays for Arning

Ray Arning Jr. of Walnut Hill, Illinois, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 13 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the third Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Arning earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-rod-roundup

New Rod Roundup

Rod companies continue to impress each year with a new crop of lighter, faster and more affordable (sweet!) rods. On the subject of price, these days, a tournament pro or an average angler could be fishing with rods that cost less than $100 apiece, but without giving up anything in the realm of quality. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-17-new-terminal-tackle

New Terminal Tackle

Don’t skimp where it counts the most – terminal tackle. Hooks, weights, jigheads and the like are the keys to taking all those new soft baits and swimbaits to the fish, hooking them and getting them in the boat. Here’s the best stuff we saw on the floor at ICAST 2015. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-flw-announces-2016-tour-schedule

FLW Announces 2016 Tour Schedule

FLW announced the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour regular-season schedule today in a live press conference held at the 2015 ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. With the help of six veteran Tour pros, the company unveiled each of the six events, one-by-one, to a crowd of observers gathered around the FLW booth. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-reels-to-try

6 New Reels to Try

Whether you need to replace an old reel or you’re just looking to add to the arsenal, here are some of the latest and greatest from ICAST. READ MORE »

/news/2015-07-16-6-new-lines-from-icast-2015

6 New Lines from ICAST 2015

Line might just be the most important part of the package when it comes to landing fish. From presenting the bait to getting them in the net, your line is involved the entire way. If you’re looking for something new to try, the following lines are worth a shot. READ MORE »